Monday, 25 September 2017

Lets talk about Self-harm

Lets talk about Self-harm

Its time to break the taboo of Self harm.

The UK has the highest self harm rate of any other country in Europe, and female suicide rates are the highest they've ever been in over a decade.
According to statistics 1 in 10 young people will Self-harm at some point In their life, that is roughly 3 in every classroom. So why are we still not talking about it?

Its sad that the subject is still so taboo; even in todays 'enlightened society', for most people that very idea that an individual, for whatever reason, would self harm fills them with horror and disgust.
Because people can't see it, they won't discuss it. Its like burying you head in the sand and hoping that the problem will disappear. However it never works and just leaves the person struggling in

Self-harm is real, very real. In first year of secondary school when the age range is eleven to twelve it is estimated that three pupils will have thought about or acted on thoughts to self-harm.
People self harm for all kinds of different reasons, some are unhappy with how they look, others will try to punish themselves for not being societies idea of 'good enough'  but most will use self-harm as a way to deal with difficult thoughts and emotions their experiencing.

Self-harm Is an addiction. It may start off by an impulse or something you do to feel in more control but soon with out realising self harm will start to control you.

Ok, so you are probably wondering how Self-harm can become an addiction?
When you are injured, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine (happiness hormone) to compensate for the pain. So when an individual begins Self-harming their body then releases this chemical which gives them a slight happiness boost. People become addicted to the endorphins released in their brain when you act on the urge to self harm - this then leads to them feeling like they can't stop.

If you know someone who is struggling with self-harm or you suspect they might be - Please don't confront them angrily. Don't excuse them of being selfish or stupid. Because the truth is they're not.
Sometimes our view of ourself and the world around us are skewed compared to others. Reacting in a way that will come across as aggressive will not help the situation. Everyones reactions to these things are different and it is understandable but it is not going to help and will usually make matters worse. Talk calmly, and if the person wants to talk, then listen. Because listening to what they want to say and why they are self-harming can make a massive difference and it will reinforce to that person that people do care. Have a conversation about other, more safer, coping mechanisms.

Selfharm - Alternatives?
. Sit with family - they will feel much safer around people than when they are by themselves. The risk of self harm is much higher when an individual is alone.
. Go on a walk - If they have a dog then going for a nice relaxing walk can be a good distraction.
Take a bath - Have a nice bath with your favourite bath bomb, etc!
Watch something on TV - Put something on tv that you enjoy or put your favourite film on - as watching something you love will help and make you feel a tad better!
Draw/colouring in - If you like art then drawing may be a good distraction. And also you might of have heard about the  'De-stress colouring books' which have became really popular in the last year - these are a great distraction if you are struggling.
There is loads of distractions out there but I've listed some of the main most helpful ones!

The sad thing is, there is advice, guidance and support out there; but because no one talks about it there is no real way to tell people that their not alone. If you a struggling with self-harm then please reach out for help! Suffering in silence is not the way forward.

Whilst I hope that self-harm will eventually become a thing of the past. Right know it isn't so pretending that it doesn't exist will only make matters worse.
So please, access the help out there!

I hope you've enjoyed reading this post and that you've learnt a thing or two about the truths of Self-harm.

Thank you for reading,
lots of love,
Leah x


Sunday, 24 September 2017

Managing your mental health in school

How to cope with your mental health in school, college or university.

Going into a new year at school or starting your first year at college is a very stressful time in itself, but when your battling mental health problems starting the new academic year can be a very daunting process. But your not alone, 1 in 4 people struggle with their mental health this means that the thoughts you are having about starting the new year will be very familiar to some others in your group.

My mental health struggles took the last two years I had left at secondary school away from me, but going back to year maybe year eight or nine I was that pupil who's attendance was below 50% by only the first term. I was that pupil who was the subject of conversation in the staff room by teachers who were 'concerned' about my lack of progress. I often heard teachers talking about me and how I was just 'another one of them students'. I was that student who from the outside looked like they didn't care, a student who looked unmotivated. But that was far from the truth.
I was struggling with severe mental health problems. I was getting 2-3 hours sleep on a good night and still dragging myself out of bed anyway despite usually being late. I was coming into school and leaving my parents at home worried sick about me, I would get into as many lessons as I could despite knowing my illnesses were wrecking my home life. I would be discharged from hospital after an awful weekend and return to school the next day and appear 'fine' but then have to face the comments of, "Your never going to pass you GCSE's at this rate" "Do you even care?" "Why do you even bother coming in". I usually avoided these questions and changed the subject in fear of being judged if they found out what was actually going on. I went to school not to pass my exams but because I didn't want to give up on another thing because of my mental health.
I wanted to be normal.

I started my first year at college last year in September 2016. Going back to education after a long two years out petrified me, but sometimes a new year can make all the difference.

Keeping yourself as well as you possibly can is key to managing in education.
Prioritise yourself. You need to make time to rest, to socialise, to eat and to sleep.
If you know your mental health is going to affect your time in school, college or university then you need to use the staff there, weather thats your tutor or a member of staff from your schools pastoral team. Don't be afraid to reach out for help, that is what they are their for. Yes they care about your education but you health always comes first no matter what.
Do everything you can not cancel appointments with services because of your timetable. If your appointments seem to clash with lessons try and get your care team to rearrange appointments around your lessons so you have time to get to both.
Some people find asking for help extremely difficult but if you need to take some time out of lessons for whatever reason you can do that. Teachers would much rather you take five or ten minutes out to calm down and refocus than letting your anxiety build up until you go into a panic.

Thank you for reading and I hope these little reminders have been useful.
I hope your all well and that you all have a good week!
Lots of love,
Leah x


Friday, 22 September 2017

World Mental Health Day - What can we do?

World Mental Health Day

What can we do to make a difference?

As the annual World Mental health day is soon approaching, I thought that this would be the best time to give you some ideas on what you could be doing to get involved.
Each year on the 10th of October, people across the globe join together to educate, raise awareness and advocate against social stigma surrounding mental health. Charities such as MIND, Youndminds and Time to change all take part in different ways to contribute to World mental health day.

This year YoundMinds have started the campaign #HelloYellow -
By wearing yellow this mental health day we want to show young people that they're not alone when it comes to their mental health.

Mental Health Facts and Statistics;
. Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
. 1 in 5 people young adults have a diagnosable mental health disorder.
. Half of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14 with 75% by the age 24.
. Suicide is the most common cause of death for boys aged 5-19, and the second most common for girls of this age.
. 1 in 12 young people self-harm at some point in their lives, though there is evidence this is a lot higher.

We need more funding to offer more support!
. 3 in 4 children who have a diagnosable mental health condition do not get access to the support that they need.
. The average maximum waiting time for the first appointment with CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) is 6 months, and nearly 10 months until the start of treatment.
. Just 0.7% of the NHS budget is spent on children's mental health and only 16% of this is spent on early intervention.
. 9 out of 10 people with a mental health condition experience stigma and discrimination.

World Mental Health Day
This years theme for world mental health day is workplace wellbeing.
Here's a few tips on how to keep yourself well at work;
. Create boundaries between work and home
. Start a todo list to help you become more organised and focused
. Finish work on time as much as possible
. If you can, listen to music - this helps calms you so you can refocus
. Ask for help - If you work load is spiralling out of control take time to discuss it with your supervisor or manager.

How can you get involved in World Mental Health Day?

Nobody should face a mental health problem alone. However due to government funding cuts services across the country are experiencing a national crisis. Services need our help so they can be there for patients who are suffering alone.
There is so many ways you can make a difference, and I'm going to list some of the most common ideas!

Take on an active challenge! - Run, trek, skydive, cycle, or swim are all great ideas on raising money!

Do your own fundraising!  From bake sales to bungee jumps there are endless ways to raise funds for mental health charities.

Fundraise at school - There are loads of ways to fundraise at school; Here are are few ideas to get you started
Cake Sale
None school uniform
 raffels - Hamper?

Giving in memory - Raising funds in memory of a loved one is a very special way to remember them. It can mean so much at a time of sadness and provide a tribute that lasts for years to come.

Thank you for reading and I hope this post has gave you some ideas on how you could contribute to
World mental health day!

Side note - For WMHD I am taking 5 bloggers to do a guest post on a topic of their choice on my blog, they will be uploaded from the Monday the 9th of October to Friday the 14th of October.
If you are interested please contact me via twitter or Instagram - @Leahalderr

Anyway I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope your all well,
Lots of love,
 leah x


Thursday, 21 September 2017

How to lead a more positive life

How to lead a more positive life

How can you have a more positive outlook on life when struggling with Mental Illnesses?

Being positive sounds so simple, right? And you have probably all heard someone saying 'think positive'. But is it really that simple? Having any type of illness weather that being Mental or Psychical will put a downer on how you think about life. So how can you stay positive when struggling with long term mental health problems?

Positivity is choosing to see the bright side of life. It is recognising that struggle and pain are not all whats there, even if they're all we can see in a certain moment. It is seeing the good in people even when we have to search really hard. Its about trusting ourselves.

Negativity is about finding fault and worry in people and situations. Its about focusing on the one thing that went wrong when a zillion others went right. But what if our lives aren't perfect? Should we pretend our illnesses don't exist? Absolutely not. I used to think that if I shared my struggles people would think I'm being negative. Then I realised that holding in all the bad stuff made me feel even worse. instead of feeling free I felt trapped.

10 top tips on how to become more positive!

1. Be comfortable in your own skin.
The first step to feel more positive about yourself is to feel comfortable in your own skin. No one is perfect and everyone was born with flaws, You have to accept yourself for who you are and love yourself. If your not happy within you own skin it becomes your biggest concern, that stays on the top of your mind all day. It kills your self-esteem, confidence and happiness within yourself. Surround yourself with people who value the same things in you and leave the people with bad attitudes behind.

2.Keep Active
Keeping active weather thats going to the gym or just filling your day with day to day things is a massive help to staying well. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. Exercise or just keeping busy massively improves your mental health.

3. Don't isolate yourself.
Its especially easy for those who are affected by psychical or mental illness to disconnect from the outside world. Its easier than you think,  illnesses that limit you to your house or even your bedroom have already cut off the majority of your social life. But staying in contact is really important, call or text you friends and family and try stay as involved as possible. If your not limited to your house, getting out to go and see friends, or go shopping or even just for a walk is essential for your health.

4. Surround yourself with positive people
If you want to become and live a more positive life, you have to make sure you spend time with people who let off positive energy. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good, and people who have a positive impact on your mood.

5. Live in the moment
You are not your thoughts, life unfolds in the present. But so often we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past us. Focus on the present, the here and now. Try and stop your mind running away and thinking about the future. Be aware of your surroundings, and try focus on all the good things around you.

6. Let go of your need to control
A lot of people feel the need to be in control, it makes you feel secure but at the same time, with control we lose freedom. Trying to control things will not only drive other people away which will make you panic more but it hinders you from achieving happiness.

7. Avoid overthinking
This is what a lot of us do, we worry about our future. about our career, health, living, money, and about the ones we love. We worry because we are scared. However worrying doesn't make anything better unless we stop worrying and start taking actions towards our goals.

8. Have an open mind
Having an open mind helps you learn and grow, strengthen your belief in yourself. There is an honesty that comes with an open mind because being open minded means admitting that you aren't all knowing. It means believing that whatever truth you find might always have more to it than you realise.

9. Go slowly
I have found that when I go fast, when I try to think, talk, eat and move around in my world really quickly then things don't go to well. Stress builds up. Negative thoughts about just about anything start to well up and then I feel like my personal power decreases.  If I slow down even if its just for a few minutes when I'm walking, talking or eating - then my mind and body calms down too. It becomes easier to think things through clearly again and easier to find the optimistic and constructive perspective.

10. Transform negative self-talk to positive self-talk.
Some people think more negatively than others, and usually people don't realise there actually putting themselves down a lot - because they've become so used to negative self-talk. It can creep up easily and often hard to notice. You might think 'I'm so bad at this' or 'I shouldn't of tried that'. But these thoughts turn into internalised feelings and might cement your conceptions of yourself. When you catch yourself doing this, stop and replace those negative messages with positive ones. For example; 'Im so bad at this' becomes 'yes I may not be the best but with more practice I will get better at it'.

I hope this post has been useful, and that you feel able to try some of these tips out!

Positive mind,
Positive vibes,
Positive life.

Hope your all well,
Love Leah x


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

How to talk to your GP about your Mental Health

How to talk to your Doctor about your Mental Health?
Image result for seeking help for mental health issues

Seeking help for a Mental Health problem is a really important step towards getting and staying well, but it can be hard to know who or where to turn to. Its common to feel unsure about seeking support for your Mental Health. Its quite common for people to approach me via twitter or Instagram to tell me about their struggles and how they can access professional help. So having been through the assessment process more times than I care to think about, I think its time to share my tips on how to get the best initial contact and assessment.

Its common to feel unsure about seeking support for your mental health, and feel like you ought to wait until you can't handle things on your own. But its aways ok for you to seek help even if your not sure if you are experiencing a specific mental health problem.
Some reasons why you might choose to seek help could include;
. Finding it difficult to cope with your thoughts and feelings
. Thoughts and feelings having an impact on your day to day life.
. Wanting to find out about available support

The idea of approaching a doctor to say that you think you could have a mental health problem is something that would probably make most people feel nervous and unsettling. If you haven't been in the mental health system before, you have no way of knowing how it works, and what its like to be part of it. Many people worry that they won't be taken seriously, while others are anxious that they might have some form of treatment forced upon them against their will, however this is very unlikely in most cases.

Most people start their journey to diagnosis by approaching their GP. Remember that GP's have to have a very wide knowledge base, and this means your doctor is unlikely to have any in-depth knowledge of mental health. What a GP needs from you, is sufficient information to be able to make a sensible decision about weather you should be referred onward for further assessment. Usually if your GP thinks its best for you to be past forward for further assessment you will be referred to CMHT (Community mental health team) or if your are under the age of 18 you will be referred to CAMHS (Child and adolescent mental health service), both of which are NHS based services. Once you have been referred you are usually placed on a waiting list, depending on where you live the waiting list time will differ from area to area.
Once you've passed that stage you will be assessed either by a consultant psychiatrist, psychologist or community nurse. This assessment will help them decide on what level and treatment is best for you. These treatments can include, therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) DBT (dialectal behavioural therapy) and CAT (cognitive analytical therapy)  these are just some of the most common therapies that you could be offered. Usually services prefer to use talking based therapies (the ones listed above) first before trying any medication. I have had people come to me in the past worried that they will just be given medication and then sent away,  however this is untrue.
If talking therapies are not helping they will change to a different form of therapy to see which one is best however if none of the therapies above have helped and you've not made progress and you are willing to try some form of medication they will probably suggest a small dose of a medication which would suit your needs. SSRI (Anti Depressants) are the most common psychiatric drug used and there are various types.  Not everyone will be given the same medication even if you have the same condition because everyone responds to medication differently. But please remember that if you decide to give medication a try you can change your mind and you will not be forced to take them against your will.

Going back to your appointment with your GP, it is always very important to be truthful and explain fully about your concerns and struggles. Everything that you say to your doctor will be completely confidential unless you pose as a risk to yourself or others. If your GP believes someone is either manic or severely depressed, especially if they believe there is a suicide risk, the referral should be urgent and you will be seen In the upcoming few days sometimes in severe cases you may get suggested to go to your local A&E for your own safety if you pose as a risk to yourself.
But some people hold back from disclosing suicidal thoughts to a doctor or health care professional, in fear they could be "sectioned". Please don't; your doctor really needs to know what is going on for you, and telling your GP about your thoughts will not get you "locked up". The only health care professional who has the power to detain you under the mental health act is a psychiatrist, and they can only do this with if an AMPH (Approved Mental health professional) has formally assessed you and recommended that detention is necessary, and a second doctor has agreed.

Over the years what I have found helps is thinking about my concerns before my appointment.
Before the appointment it might be helpful to write down what you would like to talk about to make sure that you do not forget anything during the appointment.
Write down symptoms of how you are feeling and how your mood might be affecting you day-today life.
Write down key personal information such as, upsetting events in your past and any major stressful events.

Writing a list of questions you want to ask is also very helpful to prevent missing things out.
You might have some questions in mind already but I will list a few which have to come to mind;
What type of Mental health problem do I have?
How do you treat my type of Mental illness?
What can I do to help myself?
Is there specific medication that can help?
What can others do to help?
How long will treatment take?

Getting a second opinion
If you are unhappy or want to confirm that the advice and support you were given is correct, you have a right to ask for a second expert opinion. Sometimes seeing a different doctor makes all the difference.

You aren't alone!
Remember that you're not alone. 30% of all GP appointments are related to mental health and wellbeing issues and 1 in 6 people will experience a mental health each week.
Seek help!

I hope this post gave you some ideas on how to seek help and prepare for an appointment.
I hope your all well

Love Leah x


Sunday, 23 April 2017

Importance of Self-Care

 Importance of Self-Care

Self-Care? What exactly is Self-Care?
Dont forget guys:
Self care is care provided by you for you. Its about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. It is taking the time to do some of the activities that nurture you. Self-care is about taking proper care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. Self-care is an activity that you do voluntarily which helps you maintain your psychical, emotional and mental wellbeing. It can help you feel healthy, relaxed, and ready to take on your work and responsibilities.

Why is Self-Care so important?
There are lots of reasons why self-care is important but here are a few main reasons.
It keeps you healthy 
Self care can help you stay healthy! Physical stuff like exercise can be a great form of self care for various different reasons. It keeps you strong, burns of nervous energy and gives you some time to forget your responsibilities or things that stress you out. Self care doesn't have to be psychical either, taking time out of your day to do something you enjoy like watching a film or reading is also a great way to distract your mind and body from things that mind be causing you stress.
It helps you 'recharge' 
Some people use self-care as a way to unwind and destress after a long day or week. Taking a relaxing bath, meditating or even taking a nap can help people catch up on rest and 'un-plug' themselves from the outside world.
It can help you manage health issues
Self-care sometimes is a way of coping with physical or mental health issues. People with Mental Health issues will use self-care strategies to cope with symptoms that can be overwhelming, and to make sure that they can live their lives as fully as possible.

So here are some of my ideas of self-care;

1. Treat Yourself
2. Mediate
3.Write a Journal
4. Do you nails
5. Read
6. Take a bubble bath
7. Take a nap
8. Apply a face mask
9. Color in
10. Burn a candle
11. Find a new hobby
12. Do yoga
13. Bake
14. Go to bed early
15. Go on a drive
16. Have a spa day
17. Listen to music
18. Draw
19. Turn off your phone
20. Go for a walk
21. See a friend
22. Mindfulness
23. Go cloud watching
24. Have a distraction box
25. Buy a magazine
26. Exercise
27. Watch a movie
28. Go for a coffee
29. Forgive yourself
30. Wrap up in blankets
31. Learn something new
32. Watch youtube
33. Cuddle your pet
34. Learn to knit
35. Go to a party
36. Spend sometime outside
37. Eat well
38. Go to the gym
39. Get rid of negative people
40. Draw
41. Allow yourself to cry
42. Take a long shower
43. Use a bath bomb 
45. Go to the park.
46. Dance
47. Create your own blog
48. Go to the library 
49. Declutter your bedroom 
50. Call a friend 

So there you go! There is so many different activities you can do to take care of yourself, self care is an act of survival and everyone deserves to have time to themselves. Participating in self-care can help with various different things, it can help with stress and also helps you refocus your energy.
I hope this post has helped you get some ideas on how to take steps to improve your self-care.

I hope your well,
Leah x

If you have any suggestions for posts you would like to see please comment or message me! x 


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Learning How To Cope With Mental Ilness

Hi all,

 I'm so so happy to be back and posting again! But before I get going with this post I think its best if I do a bit of an update to why I have not been active for a few months. Since about February my mental health has been quite wobbly, which has impacted on my education quite significantly  this has then led to me being homeschooled again for the majority of the time. As I have exams coming up in the summer I have been pretty busy with revising and trying to prepare myself for these exams as best as I can! I don't want to ramble on as I'm excited to get going with posting again, If you have any suggestions on subjects you would want me to talk about either comment on this post or message me!

Learning how to cope with mental illness...
 Living with a mental health problem can often have an impact on day to day life, making things others might not think about a bit more difficult.

When I think about my journey through my illnesses I find it quite difficult to see anything positive. It has been a painful, sad and confusing time, and left people around me filled with constant worry. My journey has been, and still is a long process. I've been under Mental Health services for five years, five years of being involved with different teams and seeing various Psychiatrists,Psycholgists,Therapists,Nurses and support workers.
But after a recent conversation with my Doctor I said that I wouldn't change what has happened, and your probably thinking why?
Image result for calming meditation photosThe answer is that,  I will never be the person I was before I became unwell, I will never get that Leah back. Yes in someways that is quite sad however my struggles with mental health have made me into the person I am today. It has taught me so many things, and Ive have met so many incredible people! My knowledge of Mental Health is continuing to grow and this next bit in my opinion is one of the first steps on 'Coping with Mental Illness'.

Accepting your Diagnosis; Accepting your diagnosis in my opinion is key to recovery. While it is hard it is the first step to recovery.
Understanding Your illness; learning about your illness can be very beneficial, learn what your triggers are and learn to notice when you need to ask for help.
Coping skills; Having a list of your own personal coping skills on hand is always helpful for when you are struggling.
Keep a journal; Keeping a diary isn't for everyone, but if you haven't already tried I would definitely  give it ago! Getting whatever is bothering you out can be a massive weight lifted.
Mindfulness; Mindfulness again doesn't work for everyone but it is helping more and more people and you never know it may just work for you.
Distraction list; Having a list of distractions e.g. Taking a bath, Painting nails, Baking etc etc can be a massive help for when your going through a roof patch.
Keeping busy; Keeping yourself occupied is always helpful, you could keep busy by, seeing family or friends, going on a walk, and maybe set yourself some goals for that day.
Socialising; Socialising can sometimes be really hard if your struggling with your mental health, you might find yourself becoming isolated and spending less time with people and more time on your own. But socialising is a massive part of recovery, and you will usually feel slightly better once you have done it.
Positive people; Surrounding yourself with people who make you happy will automatically give you a sense of positivity. Some people just give off positive vibes, and if you are surrounding yourself with them types of people you will kind of absorb that positivity!

This next one is definitely one of most important ones. Hopefully most of you will you already be receiving professional help but if you aren't,  I can't express how important it is to do so.
If you are wondering how you go about seeking help you can do this by, visiting you GP.
Your GP will most likely refer you to a service known CAMHS (Child and adolescent Mental Health service) this is a NHS service for young people under the age of 18. If you are over the age of 18 your GP you refer you to CMHT (Community mental health team).
Once you have been referred to Mental health service you will have access to a range of different treatments.
Therapies including;
CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
DBT (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy)
CAT (Cognitive Analitcal Therapy)
EMDR ( eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing)
Family Therapy
Art Therapy
Medication is also an option however not everyone will want or need medication, however in some cases medication can help a lot with recovery and help you to become more stable. Medication isn't a cure, it is a small part of aiding your recovery. Psychiatric Medication such as Anti-Depressants, Anti-Psychotics etc etc will only be prescribed by a psychiatrist. They are used to help treat and reduce symptoms.

Everyone will have their own coping mechanisms and their own ways of managing their illness but I that hope this post has helped and give you some ideas of how you could manage you illness better.
Thank you for reading,
Leah x

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